“My husband doesn’t know, but he will soon.”
Maddie lay on the couch by the window. One hand clutched a mug of cocoa, while the other curled around the swell of her stomach. Simone perched on the edge of the coffee table beside her.
"You're so brave, dear. Pregnancy really takes a lot out of you," she said.
She leaned forward, patting Maddie's hand. Maddie felt patronised, but forced a smile for Simone's sake.
"Women have been having babies for millenia. I'm nothing special," she replied. She shrugged.
"Oh but you are! Not every woman finds herself in your position. You're special, and very, very lucky." Simone raised her mug toward Maddie, as if toasting her.
"I suppose..." Maddie wrinkled her nose. The baby kicked; for a second, she feared it could read her mind. Would it punish her? She stroked her bump in the hope that it would calm the baby.
"If it were me, I'd feel honoured. But of course, I couldn't provide the right service," replied Simone with a sigh. She gestured at her stomach, as if Maddie could see the barren womb inside. Maddie pasted what she hoped was a sympathetic expression on her face.
"Have you told anyone else but me?" asked Simone, rushing to fill the awkward silence.
"My husband doesn't know, but he will soon," replied Maddie. "Then again, if your priest is right, then everyone will know soon."
"This is true. Armageddon is likely to cause a bit of a stir!" Simone smiled, but malice filled her brown eyes.
Maddie laughed, a weak laugh full of fear. She hugged her bump, and hoped that the growing antichrist in her belly might prefer collecting stamps to unleashing hell.